Online gaming has become a culture in its own, there is an entire industry for online gaming that incorporates itself in the console gaming, gambling and the pc gaming. Almost every game you buy in shopping centres will have an online gaming option whether it is a console game or a pc game. Online entertainment has become a form of human communication and is taking the internet industry by storm. World of war craft has hit the online gaming demographic with huge success and therefore is the best example of this ever growing industry.
For my half of the website audit I investigated the online gaming craze as a whole industry and did not limit myself to a specific company or topic, I looked at children’s online gaming sites, manufacturer sites for the online the gaming option on consol game units, aggregate sites for free online games and a manufacturer site for the largest online game, world of war craft.
The 7Cs of Customer interface
In investigating the context of these websites navigation, ecommerce and promotion seemed to be the priority and general purpose of both aggregate and manufacturer websites. The manufacturer websites like, http://www.blizzard.com/ and http://www.xboxworld.com.au/games/xbox-360/show/b where very product based in the aesthetical side of the website, all of the images and themes for these website appealed to the larger demographic that uses this kind of entertainment. The aggregate sites are basically used as portals for the online games and are centred around ease of navigation and feedback on the services available.
Apart from the popup advertising there was not much video or animation involved in any of the homepages for these websites. The home page seemed to be the centre unit for navigation and was essentially made up of still imaging and text. The only website that offered any kind of detailed background on the company was the wiggles website which had an about us option in the navigation toolbar.
All of these websites are high stimulating and, depending on the end users, appealing to the consumer. It seems that online gaming websites are highly individual and highly interactive with the consumer and promotes pull advertising as opposed to push promotion.
Each website offered a product in a different stage in its product lifecycle, blizzard offered a product well into its commitment stage where as xboxworld.com offered a new and innovative product that has yet to be explored. The wiggles websites is more into the exploration stage of its product lifecycle and therefore promoted easy navigation for easy exploration and as the targeted demographic for this site are children under the age of 10 it needs to be easy to use which they have accommodated for.
Some of these websites offered user forums for members of the site to voice their opinions on the products and services available. Whereas others offered a rating system that foregrounds the previous users opinions of the services available
All of these sites have membership options for frequent visitors to the sites. Being a member allows the user to view in more detail the ratings for games and the popularity of the games available.
Mostly forums on the products and five star ratings are the only forms of cross user communicate.
Apart from blizzards slow connection time in the opening of the website most of the other sites seemed to be pretty efficient when it came to the original opening of the site. The two aggregate sites had navigation points and links to other sites containing the games available which meant a short wait before playing the games as the site had to connect with other websites.
All these sites have membership options. Manufacturer sites offered discounted online purchasing for their products like xboxworld.com offered discount on games and the consols where as to become a member of...